After splurging on the Qantas Business Class flight to Bali we found we had developed the taste for this "more refined" style of travel. So when we discovered that Malindo Air had Business Class flights from Bali to Kuala Lumpur that regularly go for $300 or less for the 3 hour flight we were very keen to "buy the tickets and take the ride".
Malindo is a Malaysian low-cost airline owed by Lion Air, an Indonesian airline based in Jakarta and is the blending of a MALaysian and INDOnesian co-operative. As a low-cost airline, we didn't have huge expectations of their business class but even if it only meant getting an inch or two more legroom figured it would be worth the money.
To be objective here there is not the same level of service or amenities as from Business Class on most major airlines but you do get priority check-in and access to the priority customs and immigration lines that can make the whole process much less stressful. Where the whole experience comes apart is not having their own Business Class lounge, in Denpasar Airport you would normally get access to the T/G Lounge but due to the hold up at immigration (see the video) we were lucky to catch the flight let alone enjoy any time in the lounge pre-departure. To jump ahead a bit we later flew Malindo out of Kuala Lumpur and used the Sama Sama Express lounge which really wasn't a pleasant experience. Hopefully Malindo will progress further to gaining access to something a little more plush in KL.
Now, to the nuts and bolts bit, we flew a B737-900ER aircraft which seats 12 customers in Business Class but from our experience and from what I have read the Business Class seats are rarely overly subscribed. The seating is a 2 X 2 formation with only slightly scuffed leather seats that although not being able to be adjusted into fully flat, do give plenty of recline and plenty of legroom. Sitting down, we were immediately struck by the amount of space, with a reported pitch (seatback to seatback) of 45 inches, it’s 8 inches more than the Qantas 737 and it makes a massive difference! If the passenger in front were to recline, you wouldn’t even notice it. The only negative comment about the seating is that the controls are quite clunky and require a little muscle and co-ordination to adjust.
The in-flight entertainment unit swivels out of the armrest and had a more than adequate selection of English language movies to keep us entertained for the 3 hour duration. It is adjustable enough to keep out of the way while you eat and contains a USB charging port, a 240v power charging point was also present. After take-off our tray tables were laid with white linen table cloths mysteriously labelled "Batik Air", this branding may come down to the fact that Malindo Air is set to rebrand as Batik Air by the end of 2019. Shortly after take-off our meal was served with good, solid silverware and white ceramic plates and bowls. There is no printed menu but two choices for main course are offered, one of which was vegetarian, and while nothing out of the ordinary, were quite tasty and plenty of it.
All in all it was quite an enjoyable flight and for the price we dont think could be bettered for value, so much so that we later flew Malindo business class from Kuala Lumpur to Perth, Australia. The other tip that we hadn't realised was that having used AirAsia so many times into Kuala Lumpur it took us by surprise to land at the other International Airport rather than KLIA2 which we saw as an added experience really.
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